The World Championship of Public Speaking 2013 is in 364 days, in Cincinnatti Ohio.  I plan to be there as a spectator but my hope and deep desire is to be there as a competitor.

My name is Paula Howley and I am a Toastmasters Junkie.  I’ve spent much of my life being addicted to various damaging things so I am really just continuing a lifelong pattern but in a more healthy channel.

Today, the 2008 World Champion of Public Speaking, LaShunda Rundles, is being buried in Texas.  LaShunda, one of only FOUR women to ever win the World title, battled Lupus for all of her adult life and on August 21, she went “to the other side of life’s portal”.

She was scheduled to be the Keynote Speaker at my District 21 Fall Conference and I was excited about meeting her, a strong woman of faith.  That will never happen now, but she touched my life, regardless.   One of the most memorable things I ever heard from her was that being a Champion OFF the stage was what was truly important.  It’s true.  It’s what we do in secret that really matters.  What we do when nobody’s looking that makes up our character.

She also said “We’re not half afraid of dying than we are that nobody will remember that we were ever here.”  This statement, I beleive, was what clinched the championship for her as it must be a feeling that resonates with every human who has ever lived.

My hope is to be a champion off and on the stage.  And that I won’t be forgotten either.